Wikis

What more appropriate place to look for information on wikis than the “Wiki” article on Wikipedia? Wikipedia is probably the best known example of a wiki, but is only one example of what a wiki can do.

Wikis, in the form of Wikipedia, have already affected the classroom.  Students often use Wikipedia as a quick way to get information about a subject.  This is my favorite way to use Wikipedia – as a jumping off point.  While it doesn’t provide cite-able information, it is a great way to figure out what the subject encompasses and what to do more research on.

Outside of Wikipedia, wikis can be used as a powerful tool for collaboration.  As a math teacher, I can see using a wiki for a geometry class, where throughout the year, students add entries for theorems they are learning in order to build a comprehensive resource.  The wonderful thing about a wiki, especially in a classroom context, is that the students can work off of and correct each other, making the wiki more powerful.  I think that this could be a great addition to almost any class.  In a literature class, a wiki of character descriptions.  In a chemistry class, a wiki of chemical elements and their properties.  The possibilities are endless.  And student-generated content is much more meaningful than a study guide provided by a teacher.

I was in college when Wikipedia was really beginning to take root, and I’m glad to see that we’ve moved from just yelling at students that Wikipedia is not a legitimate research source to finding ways to incorporate such valuable technology into our classrooms.

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One thought on “Wikis

  1. Like you, I love using wikis like Wikipedia as a jumping off point. However I have also been told all my life not to use it as a credible source. Because of this, I have always shied away from using them. These articles opened my mind to the new ways of using wikis in the classroom. I really liked your idea of using wikis in your classroom for geometry theorems. I think that allowing students to collaborate on wikis is a tool that will serve them as they move into higher education and into the job force.

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